Smart move by Nestlé sees them with world first

Nestlé has announced that its  Smarties brand is now using recyclable paper packaging for its confectionery products worldwide. This represents a transition of 90 per cent of the Smarties range, as 10 per cent was previously already packed in recyclable paper packaging. Smarties is the first global confectionery brand to switch to recyclable paper packaging, removing approximately 250 million plastic packs sold globally every year.

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Date labelling and food waste go hand-in-hand

Accurate and consistent date labelling on-pack ensures that food is not only safe to eat, but at its best quality throughout its entire life. Getting this right can help to minimise unnecessary food waste in the household.
Food manufacturers need to ensure that they are communicating the correct information and advice on pack; the messaging needs to be clear, intuitive and easy for consumers to understand.
What is date labelling?
Date labelling is designed to guide consumers on how long food can be kept before the quality deteriorates, or once the item is unsafe to eat.
What are the meanings of a Use By Date VS a Best Before Date?
Use By Dates and Best Before Dates are the next step in date labelling and are the responsibility of the food manufacturer.
Use By Date
In the simplest of terms a Use By Date is designed for the health and safety of a consumer and you should not eat the item after this date. Items are also not legally permitted to be sold after this date as they pose health risks.
Best Before Date
A Best Before Date however does not mean that you cannot eat the food after then; it simply means that the quality or taste may not be ‘at its best’ after the recommended date. This style of date-labelling is determined by the manufacturers recommendation of “optimum consumption” to achieve the best quality product.
According to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), who is responsible for all date labelling definitions, “Food items are legally permitted to be sold after a Best Before Date and until they are no longer fit for human consumption”.
Legally, the only food item that can have different date marking is bread, which can be labelled with a baked on, or baked for date, if its shelf life is less than seven
days. Foods that have a shelf life of two years or longer – e.g. some canned foods – do not need to be labelled with a Best Before Date. This is because it is difficult to provide a consumer with an accurate guide as to how long these foods will keep as they may retain their quality for many years and are likely to be consumed well before they spoil.
(FSANZ)
Storage and freezing advice
If there are additional ways to extend shelf life of the product such as freezing the product, preferred methods of storage such as a specific area in the refrigerator, or at room temperature, then let the consumers know this information on-pack.
Manufacturers need to be clear on-pack if the food is best kept stored in the packaging so that the product can remain fresh for longer. They need to communicate to consumers how long products should be kept frozen, include defrosting explanations and how to cook from frozen instructions. As an industry we need to ensure that the date labelling used on pack is consistent across all categories so it is easy for consumers to make informed and conscious decisions before wasting food unnecessarily. We encourage you to educate everyone within your business about the differences and help make a contribution to minimising food waste.

Keeping cool at Godden Foods in Australia

The Godden Food Group is a family-owned and operated wholesale food distribution business located at Ormeau just north of Queensland’s Gold Coast. Godden Foods supplies a range of frozen, chilled, fresh and dry goods to restaurants, caterers and private homes throughout south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales.
In 2019, the lease on the company’s premises came to an end and Jeff Godden, the company’s owner, had to find new premises. Having secured a new home for the business, and also having built a 27,000m3 insulated store, he needed to fit it out with advanced refrigeration equipment, to provide separate rooms for -23°C frozen storage and a chilled area at 2°C-4°C.
The challenge
For Godden foods, the key requirements were to have a safe, cost-effective refrigeration system that would provide sustainable service well into the future. However, Jeff Godden also had another target in mind – he needed the whole project completed to allow him to be fully operational before his initial rent-free period expired.
The GEA solution
Scantec Refrigeration in Murarrie, Queensland is a refrigeration company with 25 years’ experience in supplying advanced industrial and commercial plants throughout the region. Stefan Jensen, one of the founders of the company, recommended Godden use a centralised low-charge ammonia refrigeration system with four GEA Grasso V300 reciprocating compressors. Although Jensen knew that this would not be the option with the lowest capital expenditure, he was certain that it was the best long-term system for his customer.
Read More: Confusion of soft plastic recycling
“I knew that this customer would be able to make huge savings on energy costs,” said Jensen. “But when you tell customers that they can reduce their energy usage by two-thirds, sometimes they don’t believe you. But I was able to present evidence from other projects, so the customer went for the idea.”
Jensen explained that the big benefit of a centralised low-charge ammonia refrigeration system is that it contains very little ammonia, around four to five times lower than a conventional liquid overfeed system.
The presence of high-density liquid refrigerant within the wet suction lines and risers is eliminated. Because pressure drops in wet suction lines are up to 60 times higher than in pure vapour lines, the system runs at lower refrigerant pipeline pressure drops, making it very energy efficient.
“This is where most of the energy saving comes from,” he said.
The GEA Grasso V300 compressors at the heart of the system were suitable for the job. Scantec chose the GEA machines, partly because they were available quickly, but mainly because of their inherent energy efficiency.
“The V300 is an excellent machine and, in my opinion, more efficient than anything else on the market,” said Jensen. “But it’s also one of the very few that does not require water cooling,” he said. “Water cooling typically adds at least $15,000 to the installation cost and is a drain on energy as the water has to be pumped around the system.”
Not requiring water cooling further reduces energy consumption and makes the installation “plug-and-play”, reducing the time involved and giving the company the flexibility to take the plant with them should they need to move again in the future.
The outcome
The new plant at Godden Foods was commissioned in May 2020, coinciding with the start of trading from the new premises. According to Jensen, its Specific Energy Consumption (SEC) is better than anything he’s seen on the market.
“With energy savings of around two-thirds compared with an industry-standard, air-cooled HFC-based system, Godden will get the whole cost of the new plant back in eight years well before the expiry of the 15 year lease period,” he explained. “But if you just consider the marginal additional cost, compared with a freon plant, the payback will be three to four years.”
Maintenance costs for the system will be in the region of two per cent of the initial capital cost annually, lower than equivalent freon systems.
It is also safe. The operating inventory within the freezer is only 1.5kg of ammonia so, even if there was a catastrophic leak, the concentration of ammonia within the refrigerated space would be only around 100 ppm. The IDLH (Immediate Danger to Life and Health) threshold is 300ppm as a comparison.
The result is a new refrigeration plant for Godden foods that is more energy efficient than an equivalent freon system, environmentally sustainable, safe, portable if necessary and, if correctly maintained, will provide 30-40 years of faithful service.
For more information on GEA products, click here.
 

Research highlights impact of food and beverage packaging

Packaging specialist Tetra Pak has released new research that revealed the carbon footprint of different food and beverage (F&B) packaging formats in Australia and New Zealand, with carton packaging having the lowest climate impact.
Commissioned by Tetra Pak and conducted by environmental consultants thinkstep ANZ, the new report “Life Cycle Assessment of Beverage and Food Packaging in Australia and New Zealand” is a market-first, independently peer reviewed comparison of the environmental impact of common packaging formats, including cartons, PET bottles, rPET (recycled PET) bottles, HDPE bottles, pouches, tin cans, glass bottles and glass jars.
It is important for F&B manufacturers to look at the carbon contribution of packaging across the entire life cycle of a package, in addition to end-of-life. The report revealed that the biggest contributor to carbon emissions is the source of materials used in the packaging.
Based on the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere per package of 1L fresh milk, the report found that carton packaging has a climate impact of 51 grams – almost 12 times less than glass packaging (605 grams), 5.5 times less than PET (280 grams) and 3 times less than HDPE (164 grams).
Cartons performed the best compared to other forms of packaging because of its material efficiency (using less material) and its mass which is mostly fibre from a renewable plant source.
Packaging formats were analysed across their entire life cycle, including base material production, pack manufacturing, filling, transport, and end-of-life (recycling or landfill) impacts, to offer insight into their overall environmental impact.
Andrew Pooch, Managing Director, Tetra Pak Oceania said: “Food packaging plays a critical role in feeding the world’s population, but it is causing problems for our climate. Today, the global food system accounts for 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Sustainable food packaging can play a strong role in bringing about the harmony between protecting our planet’s ecosystem and meeting the human need for food. As an industry, we need to start talking about minimising packaging impact from cradle-to-grave, if we are serious about sustainability.
It is critical for the F&B industry to explore new ways of producing materials, addressing their embedded carbon, and promoting carbon neutral materials.
Cartons have the potential to become the world’s most sustainable food package. Mostly made of paper, cartons have a far smaller contribution to greenhouse gas emissions compared to other packaging types. If we swapped Australia’s pasteurised milk from formats like HDPE bottles, rPET bottles and PET bottles to cartons, it would be the annual equivalent of taking more than 77,000 cars off the road.

Food cold chain education needed and is coming soon

A new training initiative based on the thermometer is about to be introduced to the Australian cold chain industry. It is seen as a practical move to help combat the country’s serious food loss and wastage problem, estimated to cost the country nearly $4 billion a year at farm gate value.
The Australian Food Cold Chain Council (AFCCC), the peak advocacy body comprising concerned industry leaders covering refrigeration assets, transport and food distribution, will release an online education program, Thermometers and the Cold Chain Practitioner this month.
The program is aimed squarely at those the AFCCC regards as the super heroes of the food cold chain process – the people who oversee the movement of food through refrigerated transports, loading docks and cold rooms across the nation.
Industry research convinced the AFCCC that Australia desperately needed a new Cold Food Code that should be adopted by industry to stimulate a nation-wide educational push to bring Australian cold chain practices up to the much higher international standard.
The educational program starting with temperature measurement is the first of a planned five-code series.
The AFCCC has invested in new online education software that will be used to develop training programs to support the release of the actual Code document that will cover temperature technologies and how they should be used for monitoring a variety of foods carried in the cold chain.
The initiative runs alongside the work being done by other authorities, including Food Innovation Australia (FIAL) and the Commonwealth Government, which has signed up to a United Nations treaty to halve food wastage by 2030.
Some of the rising levels of national food wastage is considered to be the result of poor temperature management, and poor understanding of how refrigeration works in a range of storage environments. This includes from cold storage rooms through to trucks and trailers, and even home delivery vans.
Australia has world-class refrigeration and monitoring technologies, but the AFCCC believes industry will have to adopt serious training programs so that those responsible for moving food and pharmaceuticals around the country can get the best out of the available technologies.
Because of the vast distances in this country, food transport is a series of refrigerated events, in the hands of a range of stake holders.
Mangoes picked in the Northern Territory may be handled through stationary and mobile refrigerated spaces as many as 14 times by multiple owners on a 3,400 km journey to Melbourne.
If temperature abuse through poor refrigeration practices occurs in just one of those spaces, the losses at the consumer end are compounded, and shelf life can be either drastically reduced, or result in the whole load being sent to landfill.
People working at the coalface of the industry can sign on independently to do the course, which the AFCCC believes will be an important next phase in their professional journey. Kindred organisations involved in the cold chain will be encouraged to become retailers of the education program. Many industry groups have already signed up to help drive cold chain practitioners to the training program from their own websites.
There will only be modest charges for the course, which will help fund AFCCC’s continuing work on assembling the research and expertise to complete further parts of the overall Code of Practice. This will ultimately be gifted to the cold chain industry for the purposes of universal adoption.
The extent of food wastage in this country should not be under-estimated.  It is almost criminal that one quarter of Australia’s production of fruit and vegetables are never eaten and end up in land fill or rotting at the farm gate. This loss alone accounts for almost two million tonnes of otherwise edible food, worth $3 billion.
A government-sponsored study released earlier in 2020 revealed that meat and seafood waste in the cold chain costs the country another $90 million and dairy losses total $70 million.
It’s not just the wasted food at stake. The impacts on greenhouse emissions, water usage and energy consumption will end up being felt nationwide.
The AFCCC was formed in mid 2017 by a cross section of industry leaders covering manufacturing, food transport, refrigeration and cold chain services.
The Council sees itself as an important part of the solution, encouraging innovation, compliance, waste reduction and safety across the Australian food cold chain.
The new Council is not about promoting an industry – it wants to change the industry for the better. It acknowledges that Australia’s track record in efficient cold food handling, from farm to plate, is far from perfect.

Recycling initiative to collect 190,000 tonnes of plastic

Australia’s food and grocery manufacturers, represented by peak body the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), will develop Australia’s largest industry-led plastic recycling scheme, which aims to collect and recycle nearly 190,000 tonnes of plastic packaging per annum by 2025.
The Australian Government has announced the AFGC will develop the National Plastics Recycling Scheme (NPRS), supported by funding from the Government’s National Product Stewardship Investment Fund (PSIF).
The scheme will initially focus on increasing the diversion of soft plastics such as bread, cereal and frozen vegetable bags, confectionery wrappers and toilet paper wrap from landfill and it will move on to support the increased recycling of other plastics that are currently difficult to collect and/ or recycle. As an industry-led and funded scheme, the NPRS will coordinate and focus the efforts of well-known food and grocery brands to  increase the recycling and reuse of plastic packaging.
This will build on existing soft plastics recycling initiatives including the industry funded REDcycle program and the soft plastic kerbside collection trial run by Nestlé, as well as projects and research by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation.
Read More: Nestlé and IQ renew soft plastic recycling trial
“Over many years, brand owners have invested in packaging innovations that reduce food waste and have moved to using lighter-weight plastics that have a lower carbon footprint. Continuing the focus on packaging sustainability, the NPRS will increase the recycling rates of identified plastics and reduce the amount of virgin plastic used in packaging, helping to meet Australia’s National Packaging Targets,” AFGC CEO Tanya Barden said.
The National Packaging Targets include a goal of recycling or composting 70 percent plastic packaging and incorporating an average of 50 percent recycled content across all packaging by 2025.
“We commend the Australian Government’s leadership on waste reduction and recycling matters, including their support for the NPRS.
“We’re excited about developing a circular economy in collaboration with our members, who comprise nearly 80 percent of packaged food and grocery sales, as well as governments, retailers, plastics and packaging companies, and the resource recovery industry,” said Barden

How the humble thermometer helps reduce food waste

A new training initiative based on the thermometer is about to be introduced to the Australian cold chain industry. It is seen as a practical move to help combat the country’s serious food loss and wastage problem, estimated to cost the country nearly $4 billion a year at farm gate value.
The Australian Food Cold Chain Council (AFCCC), the peak advocacy body comprising concerned industry leaders covering refrigeration assets, transport and food distribution, will release an online education program, Thermometers and the Cold Chain Practitioner this month.
The program is aimed squarely at those the AFCCC regards as the super heroes of the food cold chain process – the people who oversee the movement of food through refrigerated transports, loading docks and cold rooms across the nation.
Industry research convinced the AFCCC that Australia desperately needed a new Cold Food Code that should be adopted by industry to stimulate a nation-wide educational push to bring Australian cold chain practices up to the much higher international standard.
The educational program starting with temperature measurement is the first of a planned five-code series.
The AFCCC has invested in new online education software that will be used to develop training programs to support the release of the actual Code document that will cover temperature technologies and how they should be used for monitoring a variety of foods carried in the cold chain.
The initiative runs alongside the work being done by other authorities, including Food Innovation Australia (FIAL) and the Commonwealth Government, which has signed up to a United Nations treaty to halve food wastage by 2030.
Some of the rising levels of national food wastage is considered to be the result of poor temperature management, and poor understanding of how refrigeration works in a range of storage environments. This includes from cold storage rooms through to
trucks and trailers, and even home delivery vans.
Australia has world-class refrigeration and monitoring technologies, but the AFCCC believes industry will have to adopt serious training programs so that those responsible for moving food and pharmaceuticals around the country can get the best out of the available technologies.
Because of the vast distances in this country, food transport is a series of refrigerated events, in the hands of a range of stake holders.
Mangoes picked in the Northern Territory may be handled through stationary and mobile refrigerated spaces as many as 14 times by multiple owners on a 3,400 km journey to Melbourne.
If temperature abuse through poor refrigeration practices occurs in just one of those spaces, the losses at the consumer end are compounded, and shelf life can be either drastically reduced, or result in the whole load being sent to landfill.
People working at the coalface of the industry can sign on independently to do the course, which the AFCCC believes will be an important next phase in their professional journey. Kindred organisations involved in the cold chain will be encouraged to become retailers of the education program. Many industry groups have already signed up to help drive cold chain practitioners to the training program from their own websites.
There will only be modest charges for the course, which will help fund AFCCC’s continuing work on assembling the research and expertise to complete further parts of the overall Code of Practice. This will ultimately be gifted to the cold chain industry for the purposes of universal adoption.
The extent of food wastage in this country should not be under-estimated. It is almost criminal that one quarter of Australia’s production of fruit and vegetables are never eaten and end up in land fill or rotting at the farm gate.
This loss alone accounts for almost two million tonnes of otherwise edible food, worth
$3 billion.
A government-sponsored study released earlier in 2020 revealed that meat and seafood waste in the cold chain costs the country another $90 million and dairy losses total $70 million.
It’s not just the wasted food at stake. The impacts on greenhouse emissions, water usage and energy consumption will end up being felt nationwide.
The AFCCC was formed in mid 2017 by a cross section of industry leaders covering manufacturing, food transport, refrigeration and cold chain services.
The Council sees itself as an important part of the solution, encouraging innovation, compliance, waste reduction and safety across the Australian food cold chain.
The new Council is not about promoting an industry – it wants to change the industry for the better. It acknowledges that Australia’s track record in efficient cold food handling, from farm to plate, is far from perfect.

How one company's tray sealing technology is continuing to expand and grow

G.Mondini, a name that delivers innovation, quality and experience in providing dynamic tray sealing systems continue to grow with their ground-breaking tray sealer innovation.
With the culmination of over 45 years’ experience in designing and building tray sealing systems, the TRAVE was created to be at the heart of any packaging system. The design and construction mean this tray sealer can handle the demands of all industrial environments, deliver secure packs with every machine cycle, ability to seal any shape and size of packaging materials on the market, and with patented Platform Technology allows for different packaging technologies to be applied in a simple modular way.
The TRAVE range of fully automatic tray sealing systems deliver on reliability, efficiency and can produce a variety of new innovative packaging options including Vacuum Skin, Darfresh On Tray, MAP, Slimfresh, Slicefresh and the Award Winning Paperseal. Attention to design detail means this is the most hygienic tray sealer on the market, guaranteeing customers the best possible solution.
James White, marketing and sales director at Select Equip, a food equipment company which has been in business for over 35 years and the exclusive distributor of G.Mondini, explains, “It isn’t common knowledge that Mondini TRAVE 350 -R & Trave 384 -R tray sealers can be on the water within 4 weeks from order, with the same Trave performance at a more affordable price. Its all about delivering on all levels with no compromise on its functionality with Mondini PLATFORM Technology fully integrated into its construction. It’s all about offering our customers a real competitive advantage to develop and build their business quickly to meet retailer timelines and demands.”
When it comes to making purchasing decisions with food packaging equipment like tray sealing, it needs to be top-of-mind that capital expenditure is a fixed cost, but it is the ongoing cost of ownership that needs to be considered as well. TRAVE is the lowest cost of ownership compared to any other tray sealer currently on the market today.
Select Equip expertise is on delivering a complete system and support service throughout a clients entire growth cycle. The Trave range of tray sealers is the only system on the market that is delivered future proof and ready to adapt to retailers ever changing packaging format requirements.  It’s all about thinking about ‘systems’ and the efficiency and reliability that having one supplier for all your food packaging needs can provide (as opposed to having to rely on different suppliers.) You receive your support, service, equipment, spare parts, and advice all from one place,” said White.
G.Mondini and TRAVE are available through Select Equip. To find out more visit selectequip.com.au email sales@selectequip.com.au or call 1800 1010 122.

The growth of the Australasian Recycling Label on-pack

Every week when I receive my grocery delivery, I am starting to notice that more packs are including the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) and I can’t wait for the day that it is on all consumer-facing packaging. I opened a pack of pork steaks the other night and followed the ARL instructions and I have to say it was the most intuitive pack I have experienced in a long time. The ARL made it easy to understand which bin I was placing each component in.
What is the Australasian Packaging Recycling Label (ARL) Program? The ARL provides designers and brand owners with the tools to inform responsible packaging technologists and designers and helps consumers to understand how to correctly dispose of packaging. Led by APCO, in collaboration with Planet Ark and PREP Design, the program aims to reduce consumer confusion, increase recycling recovery rates, and contribute to cleaner recycling streams. The two elements of the program are the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) and the ARL.
Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP)
What makes the program unique is the PREP Tool component, which provides packaging technologists and designers with the correct information on whether their packaging format is recyclable in the majority of household kerbside collection systems and then how it will be handled and recovered by the Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs). The PREP Tool also indicates if there are other closed-loop recycling systems that the majority (80 per cent) of the population has access. i.e. “soft plastics”, which can be returned to a Coles or Woolworths store via the REDcycle program.
The PREP tool then works hand-in-hand with the second part of the process which is the ARL program. The ARL symbol represents how the MRF recognises materials, inks, weight, shape, adhesives and how each component will behave in the recycling ecosystem in Australia and New Zealand. Using the datasets from the PREP tool the ARL then identifies the correct symbols to use on-pack for all components of the product e.g.: lid, tray, cap, bottle, box, film etc. It is not possible for a piece of packaging to have the Australasian Recycling Label without a PREP assessment that backs up disposal claims.
The ARL is an evidence-based standardised labelling system for Australia and New Zealand that provides clear and consistent on-pack recycling information to inform consumers of the correct disposal method. As packaging is made up of separable components, each with differing recyclability, the ARL will identify each item as either recyclable, conditionally recyclable or not recyclable. The ARL is designed to ensure that consumers can understand the true recyclability of all packaging components that are disposed of in Australia and New Zealand.
The ARL symbols used on-pack in turn help consumers understand which packaging components belong in the recycling bin, or the general rubbish bin, or which parts should be returned in Australia to a Coles or Woolworths store through the soft plastic collection bins.
Consumer education
There are many brands busy updating their artwork to incorporate the ARL on pack, and I would encourage everyone to consider a strong consumer-facing marketing campaign to let everyone know that you are adding the ARL on-pack, why, and what the benefits are.
Showcase the use of ARL on your packaging as a part of your sustainable packaging journey.
Start talking to your family and friends about the ARL and encouraging your own community to look out for the ARL on-pack and teach them the benefits of the new symbols. The more consumers see the ARL and understand why it needs to be on all packaging, the better the acceptance will be across Australia and New Zealand.
Once consumers become more aware of the ARL symbols on packaging, they will gain confidence in the program and recognise that the labels are an important link to the current recycling capabilities of Australia and New Zealand. In turn, the use of ARL symbols on-pack should encourage consumers to become more active in disposing of waste correctly, which will limit contamination in our waste streams and keep recyclable material away from landfill.
The AIP has also developed a number of training courses that will greatly assist your sustainable packaging journey including Tools to Help you Meet the 2025 National Packaging Targets: PREP and ARL, Introduction to Sustainable Packaging Design, Lifecycle Assessment Tools for Sustainable Packaging Design, Flexible Packaging: Now and Into the Future, Plastics Technology: Introduction to Polymers and Recycling, How to Implement Sustainable Packaging Guidelines into your Business, Suitable, Functional and Sustainable Labelling and The Future of Bioplastics and Compostable Packaging, which are run on a regular basis across Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

Landfill-biodegradable packaging materials

Why do we do it? It is a question often asked many business owners. Why go through all the ordeal of running a business and the stress and anxiety it can often bring to owners? Do people do it for the profit they hope to get? Or is it the only field they know how to work in and think they have no other viable options? Or perhaps it is a more idealistic desire to step into a perceived void and make a difference.
The latter is why the owners of Biogone started their business. They had been involved in the clean-up of plastic litter for several years as volunteers and saw what a huge problem plastic waste was rapidly becoming. A product that is cheap to produce, lightweight, durable, and waterproof making it ideal for packaging. But it has a very long-life problem that is causing numerous dire problems worldwide. Originally manufacturers did not want talk about the legacy issue.
However, as time went on, more and more of it accumulated, the problems started to get increasing mainstream attention. The packaging manufacturers came under the spotlight and felt increasing pressure to change their designs or materials from design for functionality to design for life. Design for life now includes factoring in how the packaging, once it becomes waste, is to be taken care of.
The many advantages offered by plastic has made this a difficult problem for many producers and most still avoid the issue. The owners of Biogone took the problem head on and have developed a range of packaging supplies that will biodegrade away when disposed of to a modern landfill.

Food packaging chemical could harm embryos

BPA, a chemical found in the lining of food and drink packaging, may affect the brain development of embryos, Us scientists have discovered.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is used in the lining of some food and drink packaging including plastic bottles and metal cans to extend shelf life and protect against contamination.

According to SMH, a US study has gave the chemical to pregnant mice and then studied the offsprings' neurons.

"Our study found that BPA may impair the development of the central nervous system," said neurologist and lead author Wolfgang Liedtke from Duke University. "[It] raises the question as to whether exposure could predispose animals and humans to neurodevelopmental disorders."

The amounts of BPA studied didn't reflect normal consumption rates – in fact the study dosages were 20 times higher than the amount approved by Australian, New Zealand and American food standards bodies.

A senior lecturer at Adelaide University's faculty of medicine, Dr Ian Musgrave said that while the findings aren't relevant to human consumption, they are still significant.

"This research shows that if the dose is high enough it can shut down the sodium channel, which is important for brain development" she said.

 

Profit dip for pie maker

Intense competition inside supermarkets and the growing popularity of private-label foods has seen pie maker Patties Foods post a 16.5 percent fall in first half profits.

The company, which owns Herbert Adams, Four'n Twenty and Nanna's, made a net profit of $9.1 million in the six months to December, down from $10.8 million in 2011.

Along with increased competition Patties said it had been held back by manufacturing disruptions caused by installing a new packaging system and a $1 million charge on bad debt.

Fairfax Media reports Patties managing director Greg Bourke said the company would aim introduce a new line of frozen desserts to try and win back supermarket customers.

“The area where we are having the most impact on margin is our frozen fruit business,” he said.

“It is growing in the value end – increased value products rather than premium branded products.

“There is a change of mix going towards private label and also to the value range.”

Bourke said while the company was still selling the same amount into supermarkets, consumers had drifted away from premium products toward cheaper foods, which delivered slimmer margins.

He said the company had also seen strong growth in its petrol station and convenience store products, but the gains had not been enough to offset weakness in other parts of the business.

 

Choice launches campaign against over-the-top packaging [video]

Consumer group Choice has launched Pack Attack, a campaign aimed at encouraging manufacturers to produce consumer-friendly packaging.

The campaign follows a survey published in Readers Digest in December last year, involving 500 people in Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia which found that 64 percent of people who had injured themselves on packaging had suffered deep cuts, broken or chipped teeth, bruises or broken nails.

Angela McDougall, Choice's policy advisor, (appearing in the video below) said "Many items are now so wrapped up that some consumers simply cannot open them.  Trying to bust out an electrical item sealed in a hard plastic container or twist open a vacuum-sealed glass jar is not only prompting ‘wrap rage’ but also leaving some people injured."

Choice is asking consumers to send in photos and descriptions of their bad packaging experiences so it can then make a complaint on their behalf to the Australian Packaging Covenant, and report back on responses from manufacturers.

Clamshells (packaging for electronic goods, razors and toys in hard seals), glass jars and 'imprisoned toys' (packaging in cardboard, plastic boxes, wires, cable ties, plastic spikes and/or sticky tape) were listed by Choice as the serial offenders in wrap rage.

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Packaging exhibition to expand

Organisers of AUSPACK PLUS 2013 announced they will add 202 square metres of venue space at the exhibition due to high demand.

Visitors can expect to see over 240 exhibitors, representing 13 countries, 58 international exhibitors and taking up over 7000 square metres of floor space.

Every two years the packaging, food and beverage industries have the opportunity to see working packaging and processing machinery under one roof at AUSPACK PLUS.

According to Brad Jeavons, National Sales Manager- Labeling Systems, insignia, AUSPACK PLUS is considered to be the industry’s premier packaging event.

“Exhibiting at AUSPACK PLUS allows the opportunity to showcase our range of Domino, Bixolon, Datamax O’Neil, Zebra and Intermec labelling and coding solutions, as well as custom made labels,” Jeavons said.

AUSPACK PLUS 2013 will be held at the Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney Olympic Park from Tuesday the 7th to Friday the 10th of May 2013.

Australia to host WorldStar Packaging awards

The Australian Institute of Packaging has been invited to host this year's WorldStar Packaging awards, to be held alongside AUSPACK  PLUS 2013.

According to Ralph Moyle, national president of the AIP, this is a unique opportunity for the Australasian packaging industry to be part of an international event.

"There will be an international contingent of WPO Board members and award winners from across the globe coming to Australia for this event and we would like to extend an invitation to the entire packaging community to be a part of this significant night," he said.

The 2013 WorldStar Packaging Awards will be held on Thursday 9 May at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park, alongside AUSPLACK PLUS 2013.

The WorldStar Packaging Awards is run by the World Packaging Organisation and is now in its 45th year. Last year the event attracted 243 entries from 32 countries around the world.

The AIP will also be running its biennial National Technical Forum in the day on 9 May, with the theme ‘Global Packaging Trends’.

For more information head to www.aipack.com.au

To read Ralph Moyle's column on the importance of Australia taking part in these competitions, and global packaging trends, click here.

 

Birds Eye goes green with new recycling partnership

Frozen food brand, Birds Eye, has teamed up with waste reduction group, RED Group, in an Australian first nationwide recycling scheme.

The REDcycle program enables consumers to recycle their Birds Eye packaging in REDcycle Station Bins, located at 370 Coles stores across the country. The plastic will then be converted into outdoor furniture, exercise equipment, traffic bollards and ramps for schools and parks with the help of recycled plastics manufacturer, REPLAS.

Tara Lordsmith, general manager of retail marketing at Simplot Australia, owner of Birds Eye, said, "We are delighted that Birds Eye is taking part in the REDcycle Program, helping to reduce the amount of Birds Eye packaging which may have otherwise ended up in landfill. Not only are we reducing the amount of waste in landfill, we are also contributing to the supply of furniture and outdoor equipment for local communities to enjoy."

During a 12 month trial of the program in Melbourne, 9 million plastic packaging items were rechannelled from landfill.
 

US food safety shake-up; Colombia’s coffee woes: Global News Bites

Global News Bites keeps you up-to-date on what's happening around the world in food and beverage manufacturing.

FDA proposes new food safety standards
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed two new food safety rules that will help prevent foodborne illness. The proposed rules implement the landmark, bipartisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) … The proposed rules build on significant strides made during the Obama Administration, including the first egg safety rule protecting consumers from Salmonella and stepped up testing for E. coli in beef as well as existing voluntary industry guidelines for food safety, which many producers, growers and others currently follow … The first rule proposed would require makers of food to be sold in the United States, whether produced at a foreign- or domestic-based facility, to develop a formal plan for preventing their food products from causing foodborne illness. The rule would also require them to have plans for correcting any problems that arise. The FDA seeks public comment on this proposal. The FDA is proposing that many food manufacturers be in compliance with the new preventive controls rules one year after the final rules are published in the Federal Register but small and very small businesses would be given additional time. The FDA also seeks public comment on the second proposed rule released today, which proposes enforceable safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms. This rule proposes science- and risk-based standards for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables.
https://www.mountainx.com/article/47697/FDA-proposes-new-food-safety-standards-for-foodborne-illness-prevention-and-produce-safety

Improvement in Colombia coffee production 'urgently required': Agriculture Minister
Colombia's Minister of Agriculture on Sunday said that the government is dedicated and has proven its dedication to aiding the country's sluggish coffee industry. In a press release from the Ministry of Agriculture, Juan Camilo Restrepo called the decline in Colombia coffee production in 2012 "troubling and disappointing" and that improvement in 2013 is "urgently required." Restrepo said that the administration remains determined to assisting Colombian farmers through this troubling period. The Minister of Agriculture noted that 75% of funds invested into the coffee industry come directly from the national government. Restrepo also mentioned the $33 per load subsidy farmers are currently getting to help offset the declining international price of coffee, which fell 26% in 2012. A calamitous 2012 production season caused the national government to directly subsidize farmers whose production numbers represented a 33-year low. The dramatic decline, according to the Communications Director for Colombia's National Federation of Coffee Growers [FNC], was due to a myriad of factors including global market fluctuation, torrential rains and a rising peso. Besides a shifting global market, a heavy rainy season "prevented flowering and sparked an increase in coffee tree diseases" which dramatically affected production goals. Despite the disappointing 2012 season, the Minister of Agriculture said he remained hopeful that the industry would rebound in 2013.
https://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/economy/27583-improvement-in-colombia-coffee-production-urgently-required-agriculture-minister.html

UK 'mega deals' at three-year high
The number of big deals increased from 24 to 39, helped by the £5bn acquisition of NDS by US software company Cisco and by the £4.6bn partial acquisition of Alliance Boots by US rival Walgreens. In total, such deals accounted for £128bn in 2012 and helped boost the overall value of deals by 4.8pc, from £231bn in 2011 to £242bn in 2012. The most active sector for large deals was food and drink manufacturing, followed by chemical manufacturing, and professional and business services. Deals included Diageo’s £1.3bn acquisition of Vijay Mallya’s stake in Indian drinks company United Spirits, as well as the £1.2bn sale of Weetabix to Chinese conglomerate Bright Food.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9783947/UK-mega-deals-at-three-year-high.html

Udyami meet: Food processing industry in state under focus
The food processing industry in Bihar came under focus at the Udyami panchayat here on Monday, at which the entrepreneurs aired their problems and chief minister Nitish Kumar, who headed a team of ministers and top officials, promised to address them. Promoters and representatives of rice and wheat flour mills, rural agri business centres, processing units of maize, fruits and vegetables, biscuit manufacturing and edible oil processing units attended the meeting. The State Industrial Promotion Board (SIPB) has approved altogether 533 projects under food processing sector with the total projected cost of Rs 5942.74 crore. Of this, over Rs 762 crore has already been invested, said industry minister Renu Kumari Kushwaha after the meeting … The SIPB has also approved proposals for 28 new sugar mills at a projected cost of Rs 6507.86 crore, extension of 10 existing sugar mills for Rs 956.64 crore, establishment of ethanol plants at three existing sugar mills at an outlay of Rs 151 crore, said principal secretary, industry, Navin Verma.
https://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-01-01/patna/36093811_1_sugar-mills-food-parks-nitish-kumar

Canadian Health Officials 15 E. coli Illnesses in Eastern Provinces
Canada’s eastern and adjoining provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are reporting 15 confirmed cases of E. coli O157:H7. None of the illnesses have yet been traced to a source. Ten of the E. coli illnesses are located in central Nova Scotia, with five reported by the Capital District Health, two by the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority, and one each by the Pictou, Cumberland, and Colcherster East Hants health authorities. On the other side of the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, heath officials reported two cases were reported in the St. John region and three in the Fredericton region. Dr. Eilish Cleary, chief medical officer for New Brunswick, said it is not known if there is a common source for the cases. A number of possible sources are being investigated. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer for Nova Scotia, said that it would not be uncommon for there to be additional cases as it may take as long as ten days for some people to begin to experience symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 and get tested. One of the Nova Scotia patients experienced kidney failure, but along with the others is said to be recovering. In New Brunswick, four illnesses were treated by emergency room visits, and one victim was hospitalized.
https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/01/canadian-health-officials-investigating-15-e-coli-o157h7-illnesses-in-eastern-provinces/#.UOtJGNmpA80

Federal agriculture minister announces Canada-wide information hubs
Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says the government will phase in 16 information hubs for farmers, fishers and foresters needing advice on growing and selling their products. Ritz made the announcement at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency laboratories in Saskatoon. He said the centres will have expertise on newly developed crop strains, strategies to increase yields and best practices related to food safety. For example, a canola company needing information on export regulations on food-grade canola will have one-stop access to the rules through a centre. The hubs are to be spread across Canada and are to specialize in an activity concentrated in a given region such as shellfishing in Moncton, N.B., and forestry in Burnaby, B.C. Ritz says producers located far from any centre will be able to get advice through a toll-free number or digital means.
https://www.timescolonist.com/news/national/federal-agriculture-minister-announces-canada-wide-information-hubs-1.41628

Change4Life advertising campaign highlights sugar and fat in food
A graphic government television campaign highlighting the levels of sugar, fat and salt in everyday foods, including a cola bottle holding 17 cubes of sugar, and a wine glass full of fat from a large pizza, will be launched on Monday during an episode of Coronation Street. The adverts will bookend commercial food adverts, including from Asda, the Co-Op and Quorn, featuring their healthier ranges. The campaign is part of the Change4Life scheme. The public health minister, Anna Soubry, said: "We want to make it easy for everyone to keep track of what they eat and make healthier choices. That is why we are also developing a simple and clear system for front of pack labelling that everyone can use." The government has been criticised in the past by many in the health sector for not introducing a mandatory simple uniform labelling system, but has finally won agreement from major supermarkets to introduce a traffic light system of labelling on a voluntary basis this year. Soubry said with England having one of the highest rates of obesity in Europe, there was more to do. "Making healthier, balanced meals on a budget can be a challenge for families. This new Change4Life campaign offers families free healthy recipes and money off those much needed cupboard essentials to encourage everyone to try healthy alternatives.
https://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jan/07/government-sugar-fat-salt-health-campaign

US Demand for Plastic Film to Grow 1.9% Annually to 16 Billion Pounds in 2016
US demand for plastic film is expected to grow 1.9 percent annually to 16 billion pounds in 2016, with a market value of $19 billion. Expansion of the market will be fostered by an acceleration in economic growth and an increase in consumer spending, which will drive demand for film used in diverse applications such as retail sales, manufacturing, and construction. Advances will also be helped by an increase in the use of film in packaging, where it offers advantages in cost, performance, and source reduction over other packaging materials. The versatility of plastic film increasingly allows for the downgauging of packaging, reducing the amount of material needed and lowering production and shipping costs, while maintaining desired characteristics.
https://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=35294


 

Mixed reaction on new health labelling laws

The Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation has approved proposals to regulate food manufacturers' products nutrition content and health claims.

These new regulations will create stricter controls over on-pack health claims, including the need to provide scientific evidence to support claims and meet specific eligibility criteria including nutrition criteria.

The move came on the same day the Gillard Government announced a range of measurers to bolster the strength of Australia's manufacturing sector – promising the first round of the $236 million Industrial Transformation Research Program will focus on food research.

Meeting in Brisbane on Friday the various ministers considered the review report for the draft Standard for Nutrition, Health and Related Claims provided by the Board of Food Standards Australia New Zealand, and agreed to enact new laws early next year that will regulate the voluntary use of nutrition content and health claims, general level health claims, and high level health claims.

These changes will force manufacturers to have health claims such as 'calcium is good for strong bones' to be supported by either pre-approved or industry self substantiated, while the higher level health claims, such as 'calcium reduces the risk of osteoporosis' will require pre-approval by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

"All health claims will be required to be supported by scientific evidence and will only be permitted on foods that meet specific eligibility criteria, including nutrition criteria," the ministers said.

"The new Standard aims to ensure that consumers can have confidence that health claims are evidence based.
"When gazetted, food businesses will have three years to meet the requirements of the new Standard."

During this three year grace period FSANZ will carry out additional work such as the refining of the nutrient profiling scoring criteria, and the development and implementation of processes to maintain scientific currency of pre-approved food-health relationships.

Industry support

The new regulations have been supported by CHOICE, which stated that the decision, and the nutrient profiling score, is positive for consumers and helps to provide an objective benchmark for food healthiness.

“These nutritional criteria were agreed following extensive work by the independent regulator and provide a robust and objective approach to determining which food products are healthy enough overall to carry health marketing claims,” CHOICE spokesperson Ingrid Just said.

Following the announcement Uncle Toby's will move to ensure all of its 44 breakfast cereals meet the new criteria.

The manufacturer explained that it is part of the company's wider five year plan to reduce fats, sugar, and sodium in its products.

"Today, we are committing to consumers that by the end of January our entire range of UNCLE TOBYS cereals will meet the nutrition eligibility criteria of the new standard, meaning that every one of our cereals could carry a health claim,” Uncle Toby's nutrition manager Nilani Sritharan said.

Falling short

Despite agreeing with the move, CHOICE felt that the decision to allow food manufacturers to evaluate the evidence behind the health claims, as opposed to independent regulators, damages consumer confience.

“This is a major step backwards from an earlier proposal that would have required the independent regulator to scrutinise new claims, which was scuttled after an intense industry lobbying campaign,” Just said.

“When we look at what happened in Europe, where the European Food Safety Authority rejected 80% of the health claims put forward by food companies, we can see that the food industry has a very different idea of what constitutes scientific evidence to independent regulators."

The backlash

However the move by the government group has not been universally welcomed.

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) was quick to slam the new regulations, claiming that it "will stifle innovation and industry competiveness".

"Today’s decision by the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation to impose additional regulation on nutrition content and health claims will result in unnecessary costs, discourage innovation and reduce trade competitiveness of the food processing sector," it said.

AFGC chief Gary Dawson decried the new regulations as regressive step, saying that "the Australian food processing industry needs policy reform that bolsters business competitiveness. Unfortunately the Commonwealth and the majority of members of the Forum on Food Regulation have ignored the advice of the AFGC and those states representing the bulk of the food manufacturing sector.

“The new Health Claims Standard is a disproportionate response to a non-issue that will discourage innovation in food products, increase regulatory costs, discourage investment and ultimately pose a competitive disadvantage for domestic manufacturers."

He went on to say that “this decision comes just two days after the Government announced its commitment to reduce red tape and review unnecessary regulation. It is also inconsistent with the broader policy emphasis on reshaping the manufacturing sector to take advantage of the Asian Century.

“In the current difficult trading environment any additional regulation or impost that adds to costs runs a high risk of pushing production and jobs offshore.

“Instead of streamlining approvals, the new standard will impose an onerous substantiation process that goes well beyond equivalent regulation in Europe or US.”

On the sidelines

While the main focus was on the new health and nutrition claims, the food minister also noted progress for labelling across a number of different areas.

Regarding front of pack labelling, the ministers said the collaborative process to develop a new rating system has progressed well.

They also noted that the review of the Policy Guideline on the Addition of Caffeine to Foods is underway, with public consultation on the Policy Guideline scheduled for March next year.

The agreement for an Australian standard on country of origin labelling to include all unpackaged meat products was welcomed by CHOICE.

“We know Australian consumers have a strong desire to know where their food is produced, and this is a welcome move to close one of the key country-of-origin loopholes,” Just stated.

Minister at the forum also sought to push a review on the proposed standard for low THC hemp as a food, with ministers to seek advice from the Standing Council on Police and Emergency Services.

Woolworths to present at AIP dinner

Woolworths will be shedding light on its packaging techniques and trends at an upcoming dinner hosted by the Australian Institute of Packaging.

Speaking on 27 February at Oatlands Golf Course Club House in Sydney, Woolworths Limited's environmental manager, Kane Hardingham will join Daniel Bone, global director consumer insights, Datamonitor, as presenters.

Hardingham will present a paper on Woolworths' packaging trends, looking at balancing efficiencies, costs and sustainability for retailers and suppliers.

In his work, Hardingham works with sustainable packaging specialists to implement processes to review packaging on own-brand products and to introduce packaging improvements.

Datamonitor's Daniel Bone will speak about the 10 new pack innovations from Packtrack, Datamonitor's packaging innovation platform.

Bone will explore and challenge the economic difficulties brands face and will provide detail on real opportunities these packaging innovations could provide.

To book your place email info@aipack.com.au for a booking form or head to www.aipack.com.au